The rolling hills of Tuscany are alive with endless rows of vines. In fact, wine is produced over most of the territory in this region of central Italy. The passion, gusto, and delightful flavours of the wine is directly related to the heart and soul of this beautiful land full of myths and legends. However, it's history much more interesting.
The wine of Tuscany is cultivated with great passion in Chianti, the hills around Montalcino, the vineyards of San Gimignano and the Lucchesia. Vines grown in the Livorno Hills and the Maremma near the coast carry strong sea notes. Those in the Sienese countryside taste of the warmth of the sun combined with the richness of the soil.
Giacomo Tachis, Italian wine expert, and creator of the Sassicaia wine describes the Tuscan vineyards with passion. “Here there is light, the sun. Radiant sunlight and the right soil are the soul of wine. But the tradition of the countryside and the memory of men are the solid basis of the extraordinary Tuscan wine culture.”
From antiquity, the fruit of the vine has been highly esteemed. Gilgamesh, an ancient Sumerian king, was certain that the secret of immortality could be found in the grapevine. It was during this time that the vines of Tuscany were planted along the sea in Maremma and the coastal regions south of Livorno. It was here that the cradle of Tuscan wines began.
The Sangiovese grapevine emerged in the Sienese hills during the early 1700’s. This was to be the first step leading to Chianti, the historic area of central Tuscany known for its great red wines. It is a triangle of land that lies between Greve, Radda, Castellina, and Gaiole. Chianti wine became so important to the Sienese economy and Florentine region that by 1903 an association was formed to protect its quality. In 1931, the boundaries of Chianti vineyards were established.
Historian Zeffiro Ciuffoletti sums up the development of Tuscan wine perfectly. “Tuscany, as regards wines, has no equal the world over, thanks to a most felicitous nature, and to a civilization of the grapevine and of wine that has been decanted and refined over the centuries.”